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Police detain an opposition protester at a rally in Moscow on May 31
A Russian journalist injured when police forcibly dispersed an opposition protest earlier this week has filed a lawsuit against the Moscow police, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Aleksandr Artemyev's lawyer, Anton Filin, told RFE/RL today that Moscow's Investigative Department accepted Artemyev's legal documents.

Artemyev, who works for the online news portal, was among some 150 protesters detained by police on May 31 on Moscow's Triumfalnaya (Triumph) Square.

He says one of his arms was broken in several places when police took him into custody.

The chairman of the State Duma's Committee for Security Issues, Vladimir Vasilyev, sent official queries today to the chief of the Moscow City Interior Department and the city prosecutor, asking them to provide detailed reports on the detention of the demonstrators.

Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin announced on June 3 that he has suspended a memorandum on cooperation with the Interior Ministry because he considers the police action against the demonstrators to have been illegal.

The Moscow demonstration was one of several across the country in support of freedom of assembly.
Friends and relatives pay their last respects to lawyer Sergei Magnitsky at his funeral in November 2009.
An investigator from the Russian Interior Ministry has filed a petition to disbar a lawyer working in the prison-death case of Sergei Magnitsky.

Magnitsky, an anticorruption lawyer, died in November 2009 after nearly a year in pretrial detention during which he was denied needed medical care. He was jailed after implicating top officials, including from the Interior Ministry, in a $230 million scheme to defraud the Russian government. His death was been met with international condemnation.

Alexander Antipov has been a legal advisor for the investment fund Hermitage Capital, Magnitsky’s former employer, since Magnitsky was arrested in 2008. According to a Hermitage Capital press release, Interior Ministry investigator Oleg Silchenko requested the Moscow City Bar strip Antipov of his right to practice law after he filed more than 20 complaints, some directed at Silchenko, regarding Magnitsky’s pretrial detention.

Silchenko has accused Antipov of falsifying documents, which Antipov denies.

In a December 2009 report by the independent Moscow Public Oversight Commission, Silchenko was blamed for "either negligence or a deliberate intent to conceal the motivation of his refusal to provide a medical examination" for Magnitsky. The report also blames Silchenko for initiating Magnitsky's transfer from the Matrosskaya Tishina prison to Butyrka, where he died, and for preventing Magnitsky from communicating with his family while he was in custody.

The attempt to disbar Antipov is the latest in what Hermitage Capital says is a program of official intimidation and interference. “It wasn’t enough for the Interior Ministry to drive six of our lawyers out of the country. It wasn’t enough that they tortured and killed Sergei Magnitsky in custody. Now they are going after the eighth lawyer," the press release says.

-- Richard Solash

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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